CAR-T Cell Therapy – Promising or Not ?
Immunotherapy – As the same suggests it’s the concept of activating one’s own immune system to recognize the cancer cells and help them destroy it. There has been many variations of this therapy but the latest one (2018) has been very promising.
CAR-T Cell stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell therapy. It is different in that instead of boosting the immune system to detect cancer cells this therapy actually programs the immune system (T Cells) to identify cancel cells and thereby help it eliminate it. It is a type of immunotherapy called “adoptive cell immunotherapy.”
How it’s done:
In CAR T-cell therapy, a person’s T cells are removed and taken to a laboratory. The T cells are genetically changed so they will attack cancer cells. These CAR T cells are grown in large numbers and then injected into the patient. One of the remarkable things about this treatment is that it is a “living therapy.” CAR T cells typically have to be injected only once, because they go on to multiply in the body. CAR T cells continue fighting the cancer in the patient’s body, and their effectiveness may even grow over time.
- Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- CRS. CRS is caused when CAR T cells produce a storm of inflammatory molecules. CRS can cause a long-lasting fever, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and problems with different organs. Severe CRS can be a life-threatening problem that requires intensive medical care, including the use of a ventilator, drugs to increase blood pressure, and seizure medicines. In August 2017, the FDA approved tocilizumab (Actemra) to stop and, in most cases, cure CRS.
- Neurologic problems. CAR T-cell therapy can also cause neurologic problems. These may include problems remembering words, difficulty speaking, being less alert, delirium, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. In many patients, these problems go away on their own in a few days, but some have died from these problems.